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On Sukkot, we rejoice that G-d is happy and has seen His judgment proven right.

A Holiday for G-d

A Holiday for G-d

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A Holiday for G-d
On Sukkot, we rejoice that G-d is happy and has seen His judgment proven right.

"Speak to the Children of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this [seventh] month shall be the festival of Sukkot to G‑d'." (Lev. 23:34)

We must first understand the basic difference between Sukkot, Pesach and Shavuot. The latter two denote historic events which had already taken place and had been experienced by the people whom Moses addressed. At the time of the first Sukkot festival, the events being celebrated had not taken place yet. There had not been an important historical event to cause the Jew to move out of his house into a flimsy hut for seven days every year.

[An additional question is that] in comparison to G‑d's provided the Clouds of Glory to protect us from the sun, as implied in Lev. (23:43), surely the forty years of manna and the wandering well would rate equally with the clouds, yet we have no festivals commemorating those miracles!

The repeating of the word "say", in verse 34, and the emphasis on "this seventh month" is to tell Israel that this festival does not occur in Nissan, when the Clouds of Glory first manifested themselves, but in this 7th month, when the nation's honour was restored before G‑d, and the justification of the existence of mankind altogether was demonstrated.

We rejoice that G‑d is happy and has seen His judgment proven right…

Both Pesach and Shavuot represent a reward to Israel, who had displayed dedication at the Exodus, and who had accepted the yoke of the Torah. These festivals are "for G‑d", in that they represent justification for G‑d (i.e. they are G‑d's) who had argued that man was worth creating because Israel would display such a lofty moral level.

They are a celebration for G‑d, then also. G‑d's greatest victory, however, was the fact that Israel had recovered from the stain on its soul due to the Golden Calf episode, which first appeared to give the angels a chance to confront G‑d and remind Him that they had voted against the creation of man. The rehabilitation process had been completed right after Yom Kippur, when G‑d had first seen fit to forgive Israel (at the end of Moses' third forty-day stay on the mountain.)

The Sukkot festival, then, is first and foremost a "festival for G‑d", Israel not having contributed any input to merit this festival. We rejoice that G‑d is happy and has seen His judgment proven right.

By taking the 4 species (which according to the Zohar represent the four letters in the holy name of G‑d) we express our joy in His joy, His celebration. In Vayikra Rabba 30, we find a similar interpretation of the meaning of the 4 species.

The meaning of this is that, since according to tradition the 15th of Tishrei is the first day on which our sins are recorded again after the Day of Atonement, we arm ourselves with symbols of the holy name of G‑d, to appeal to His mercy and kindness, to help us resist our evil urge.

The Secret of the Eighth

On the fifteenth of this [seventh] month shall be the festival of Sukkot to G‑d for seven days. On the first day is a holy convocation....The eighth day is a sacred holiday to you....(Lev. 23:34-36)

Just as the sukkah symbolizes a temporary abode, so life on earth represents only a transient part of man's existence…

Just as the sukkah symbolizes a temporary abode, so life on earth represents only a transient part of man's existence. It is divided into seven decades. The first decade is sin free, hence, "the first day is a holy convocation". During the seven days we offer sacrifices also on behalf of the rest of mankind (i.e. the 70 nations), since G‑d will rejoice when all of mankind proves that it was worthy of having been created.

The eighth day, representing the eighth decade of our lives, i.e. life after the evil urge has lost its power over us. [Thus] the holy convocation will be "for you", i.e. for us rather than "for G d", since it will be Israel who will be entitled to celebrate its own achievements then.

[Translation and commentary by Eliyahu Munk]

Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1600) was a rabbi and halachic authority in Safed and later in Damascus, ordained by Rabbi Yosef Caro. However, he was most famous for his eloquent sermons on the weekly Torah readings, and his works of commentary on nearly all of the 24 books of Scriptures.
Eliyahu Munk, the translator, was born in Frankfurt, and emigrated to England as a young man, later moving to Toronto. After retiring from education and moving to Israel in 1978, he began an extraordinary second career as a translator, publishing English versions of the Torah commentaries of Rabbeinu Bechayei, Akeidat Yitzchak, Shelah, Alshich and Ohr Hachaim.
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marsha marsha marsha wh, ct via kabbalaonline.org September 22, 2010

sukkot great article
i think you'll like it Reply

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